If a new Redfin analysis is any indication, little relief is on the horizon for the nation’s protracted period of low inventory of homes for sale. New data from the real estate brokerage firm shows homeowners are opting to live in their properties longer rather than move: This year, the typical homeowner had lived in their property 13 years, up from eight in 2010.
In the Washington area, homeowners have lived in their homes for a median of 13.4 years, up from 9.2 in 2010.
Redfin’s analysis found several reasons for the long tenure of homeowners. In some cases, homeowners choose not to move because of the lack of affordable options in the area. For example, in Salt Lake City, there are 59% fewer homes for sale in 2019 than there were in 2010. In addition, the median sales price rose 74.4% from $195,000 in 2010 to $340,000 in 2019.
In Washington, there are 38.1% fewer homes for sale in 2019 compared with 2010. The median sales price rose 36.7% from $299,900 to $410,000.
Another factor is that many older homeowners prefer to age in place. Older homeowners have incentives to age in place in many locations, such as policies that reduce property taxes for homeowners 65 and older.
Homeowners who live in areas where they can walk to amenities such as parks, schools, shops and restaurants are even more likely to stay in their homes.
Redfin analyzed Zip codes with high WalkScore ratings, which assign numbers from one to 100 according to how easily residents can walk to various amenities. Its analysis found homeowners lived in their homes an average of 11 more months in Zip codes with a high WalkScore compared with nearby neighborhoods with a below-average WalkScore. In addition, homes in Zip codes with a high WalkScore sold in an average of eight days faster than those located in Zip codes with a low WalkScore.
The analysis explains a little about why house hunters find it so difficult in many markets to buy a property.